By Dr. Becker
October is the American Humane Association’s Adopt-A-Dog Month, to raise awareness about the millions of animals waiting in shelters to find their forever homes. This annual event was established in 1981 to encourage pet lovers to consider adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue group.
Sadly, every year 3 million to 4 million will never get this chance and are put to death before they’re able to find a loving home. Yet, shelters are filled with dogs of all different breeds, sizes, ages, and personalities, including the one that might be a perfect match for your family.
If you have your heart set on a specific breed and can’t find one in a local shelter, contact a breed-specific rescue group near you. You can also sign the American Humane Association’s pledge to check out your local shelter and inquire about volunteer opportunities as well as donation and supply needs to help homeless pets in your community. Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane Association, added:1
“If you haven’t yet experienced that remarkable power of the human-animal bond, American Humane Association encourages you to consider adopting a dog and finding out just how life-changing it can be… With so many dogs in shelters all across our country available for adoption — and many of them never finding a safe, loving, and forever home — adopting a dog will make you a hero, too.”
10 Reasons to Add a Shelter Dog to Your Life
There are countless reasons to add a pet to your life. They provide love and companionship and help us deal with stress and anxiety. A pet can help you overcome loneliness and improve your outlook on life. They’re also physically good for you, and research has shown pets can help:
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduce the incidence of allergies and asthma in children (kids exposed as babies to the dirt and allergens on furry pets tend to build stronger immune systems)
- Improve the health and longevity of people who’ve suffered a heart attack
- Encourage nurturing behaviors and feelings of empathy in children
- Relieve the depression of those facing a chronic illness
These are benefits you can expect from adding virtually any loving pet to your life, but there are even more compelling reasons to add a shelter or rescue dog to your life. Dogster shared 10 of them:2
1. It’s a Form of Recycling
If you’re interested in going green, adopting a shelter dog is a version of recycling. You’re taking someone’s unwanted dog and making him part of your family!
2. You’re Helping Homeless Pets
Many dogs end up in shelters through no fault of their own, and many will be killed simply because they have no place to live. When you adopt a shelter dog, you not only give that dog a home but you also free up space for one more life to be saved.
3. You’ll Be a “Rock Star”
To both your adopted dog and those around you. Adopting a pet is the “it” thing to do, much more so than “shopping” for a dog at a pet store.
4. You Can Share Your Pride
Shelter dogs are often incredibly smart, which is an accomplishment that’s only made greater by the hardships they’ve had to overcome. You can even share your pride with your friends and family to let them know how far your new best friend has come.
5. Fight Loneliness
With an adopted dog by your side, you won’t have to feel lonely any longer. Shelter dogs offer copious amounts of love and appreciation for giving them a second chance at life.
6. Unconditional Love
Shelter dogs offer true unconditional love. They don’t hold grudges or resentment. They don’t complain or expect much… yet they’ll adore simply being in your presence.
7. Shelter Dogs Don’t Judge
Your shelter dog will be your friend and ally ready to stand by your side despite any embarrassment or failures you’ve had in the past.
8. Show Your Depth
Adopting a shelter dog shows you have inner depth and value your dog’s unique personality, not just the look and style of their coat.
9. Show Your Style
A shelter dog makes a stylish statement, one that says you care while still allowing you to find just the right fit for your personal style. And if you really want a purebred, there are rescue organizations for that, too.
10. Show Your Faith in Democracy
Shelter mutts are the people’s dog, the underdog, the one that you can save with only your vote.
Are You Ready to Adopt? Resources to Get Started
If you’d like to adopt a dog during Adopt-A-Dog Month, or any time of year, the resources below, from the American Humane Association, provide an excellent starting point. There are also resources specifically for shelters, rescue groups, and educators to help spread the word about About-A-Dog Month. Good luck in finding your new forever friend!
- Adoption Center For Dog Adopters & Dog Owners: Visit a virtual Adoption Center to learn about dog adoption, behavior, and care.
- Shelters & Rescue Groups: Get free resources to help you promote Adopt-A-Dog Month and increase dog adoptions.
- Educators: Download free lesson plans to teach your students about choosing a dog, caring for a dog, and pet identification.